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tbog skeletondreamsArtist: The Beauty Of Gemina
Title: Skeleton Dreams
Genre: Alternative / Indie / Rock / Dark Folk / Songwriter / Americana / Dark Blues / Electronic
Release Date: 4th September 2020
Label: TBoG Music / Al!Ve


Album Review

Pensive, profound, and poetic; meditative yet also driving; minimalistic as well as multi-layered - the sonic landscapes of ‘Skeleton Dreams’ are sensational. Eclectic melody makers of melancholia THE BEAUTY OF GEMINA have once again outdone themselves. With their captivating opus number nine, the follow-up of ‘Flying with the Owl’ (2018), the combo from Switzerland easily captures the listener’s imagination and all senses offering us a fruitful and fulfilling listen. Indulge your ears, drift into ‘Skeleton Dreams’, soothe your soul, and energise your bones. Once you tread the beautiful GEMINA-lands there is no going back! Singer and songwriter Michael Sele and his comrades present twelve masterful pieces, a stellar cover song, and conclude with a cool remix. For the first time, multi-instrumentalist and fellow Philipp Küng also contributed to the production. ‘Skeleton Dreams’ was created in Sele’s sound studio located in the catacombs of the “Altes Kino Mels”, an old cinema in Mels, canton of St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Aside from the final ‘desert mix’, the opener ‘A Night Like This’ and closing title ‘Hold On To This Night’ present a nice nightly frame, fitting for dreams. The first tune manages to be moody and groovy at the same time. The following ‘Naked’ is mesmerizing, like a lullaby, with Sele’s soft and soulful, husky vocals and it's impressive how clear and minimalistic the tune appears while layers of instruments and effects alternate building up a beautiful whole. ‘Maybe God Knows’ picks up the drive and leads to a powerful chorus with some electric guitar notes, which definitely will become a much-celebrated live song. The fantastic piece ‘Friends Of Mine’ is a funeral song that gets under the skin. One could imagine JOHNNY CASH covering this one.

“It’s me on my deathbed and I am all smiles / Where are you, dear friends of mine ... / You stand by my grave and I hope that you cry”

We get revived again by the most up-lifting track on the record, ‘Resurgence’, with its prominent drums and e-guitar. It is another song that leads to a break out of an amazing chorus and is perfectly followed by the central song of the album, the moody and enigmatic ‘Where Has It All Gone’. There are a few interesting things happening here, so you better take a listen yourself and just enjoy it! Thus, towards the middle of the album acoustic guitars give way to some more experimental and electronic influences. The following semi-acoustic ‘Rainbow Man’ highlights the outstanding singer songwriter qualities once again. There are a few lines Sele sings in higher notes and his soft vocals are heart-touching and have a soothing effect.

“I’m a rainbow dancer / I’m dancing in the sun / My heart is full of rain”

‘Dark Suzanne’ presents a great contrast to the previous tune by picking up volume and pace while Sele starts to sing the verses in a rich, deep and dark register. Next in line is ‘Nine While Nine’, a superb cover of a 1985 song by THE SISTERS OF MERCY taken from the ‘First and Last and Always’ record. TBOG have created quite a successful transformation with their arrangement so that the tune most certainly suits ‘Skeleton Dreams’. With the atmospheric ‘I Come To Grief’ another highlight emerges. The poetic lyrics and the vocal line shine in splendour as Sele’s singing is beautifully surrounded by subtle music featuring some Western vibes. He sings about feeling a funeral in his mind, which might remind you of the famous poem ‘I felt a Funeral, in my Brain’ by American poet Emily Dickinson.

“The night is dreaming and I’m walking / a hundred miles, a hundred ways”

On the faster-paced ‘Apologise’ the cello, guitar, and bass lines perfectly pull the song together. Music-wise the last two titles get more minimalistic. The calm piece ‘The World Is Going On’ is spirit-soothing as Sele’s singing is just accompanied by the acoustic guitar. Then, wonderful, neoclassical piano notes introduce and carry the closing title ‘Hold On To This Night’. Here, the singer almost whispers at times and then his voice also gets louder as he asks us to “hold on to this night”. Here I’m imagining to hear the raindrops dancing down the window panes and the fire flickering while the musician sits at the grand piano singing in a darkened room. What a sincere, fabulously beautiful and breath-taking last song. One can easily imagine future live audiences listening to this song with rapt attention.

“... And the rain will flush away the pain ...”

All in all, one can only praise the compelling vocal presentation, the masterful rhythms and delightful melodies, the artfully sneaked in electronic elements and organ sounds, and the fluency of the songs on ‘Skeleton Dreams’. It seems as if TBOG have simply conjured the songs up with apparent ease and yet they all are grand and magnificent. You cannot fail to be impressed by them and it is impossible to pick just one favourite. And finally, there is of course the electronic version of the ambient ‘Where Has It All Gone’ in form of a truly terrific ‘Desert Mix’, which highlights the tune’s sinister side. The eerie remix is definitely a very welcome addition to the album.

Without a shadow of a doubt, one can clearly hear that TBOG are one of those acts that put their heart and soul into their art. ‘Skeleton Dreams’ proves that the band doesn’t rest on its laurels, but keeps on earning them. This doesn’t only take talent, clearly forbids a copy and paste of one’s old creativity, and actually calls for a drive to evolve and the passion to perfect. And that’s exactly what TBOG does here - successfully. This band stands out in the alternative world of music, and deservedly so. No matter if you are into Electro or Folk, Goth or Country Blues, Rock or acoustic tunes, or possibly all of the above, in case you are looking for the melancholic which is endlessly harmonic and will raise your spirits, you’ve come to the right place.

‘Skeleton Dreams’ is an invitation to dive into darkness, a blackness that is as beautiful and brilliant as TBOG is well-known for offering. You may rest assured that dark music lovers ranging from “shadow dancers” to “rainbow dancers” who appreciate unique and high-class compositions, gorgeous and versatile vocals, poetic lyrics and a simply superb sound will be enthralled by this piece. As of 4th September, long-term devotees and hopefully many new listeners can get their mp3, CD or vinyl version of the album to delve deeply into the novel dreams of the ground-breakers THE BEAUTY OF GEMINA.


Tracklist

01. A Night Like This
02. Naked
03. Maybe God Knows
04. Friends Of Mine
05. Resurgence
06. Where Has It All Gone
07. Rainbow Man
08. Dark Suzanne
09. Nine While Nine
10. I Come To Grief
11. Apologise
12. The World Is Going On
13. Hold On To This Night
14. Where Has It All Gone (Desert Mix)


Line-up

Michael Sele - Vocals, guitars, keyboards, organ, piano, string arrangements, programming, production
Philipp Küng - Bass, percussions, keyboards, arrangements, co-production
Mac Vinzens - Drums
Andi Zuber - Bass


Website

http://www.thebeautyofgemina.com / https://www.facebook.com/TheBeautyOfGemina


Cover Picture

tbog skeletondreams


Rating

Music: 9
Sound: 10
Total: 9.5 / 10




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